Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dr. Estella Ford Warner's advice to young women

I'm working on three different articles this week, and while I'm normally a pretty concise writer, one of them ran a little too long for me to include the entirety of an excellent quote from distinguished alumna Estella Ford Warner, MD.

In the 1930s, Dr. Warner was among the women graduates of UOMS who were surveyed by registrar Lucy I. Davis Philips. One of the questions was, "What would you give to a prospective woman medical student?" Dr. Warner urged young women,
"By all means to study medicine -- as a profession it offers tremendous satisfaction and carries no more disappointments and risks than any other business or profession. However, I should strongly advise that before entering a professional school, one's education and experiences in travel, literature, art, etc. and the so-called 'cultural field' be as extensive as possible -- those things for the medium for social intercourse and success in medicine depends to a greater extent than many realize upon one's [understanding] of people and their interests, as well as making the mere mechanics of living more pleasant by an appreciation of life and those things that are the warp and woof of civilization."

The survey data and response cards form part of the Lucy I. Davis Phillips Collection, an incredible source of information on women educated in the early days of UOMS.

Dr. Warner's sentiments seem particularly timely as I've recently greeted many prospective MD students who stumble across the History of Medicine Room on their campus visits. Each one I've spoken to has wondered why such a place exists at a medical school, and then expressed amazement and delight that the resources are here for students such as themselves to use.

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